17 November 2022


La Costena is Nicaragua's only domestic airline.  Based in Managua, La Costena carries passengers to mostly Nicaraguan locations:  Big Corn Island, San Carlos, Bluefields, Bonanza, Ometepe, Puerto Cabezas, Siuna, San Juan de Nicaragua, Waspan, and the non-Nicaraguan city of Tegucigalpa which is the capital of Honduras.  I have read that at one time Avianca owned a part of La Costena from 2010 but sold their portion of the smaller airline in 2019.   

La Costena has proven to be a very "user friendly" organization with good person to person communication.  Until recently it's been suffering because of past covid shut downs...but covid regulations spread suffering everywhere.  Before covid's unnecessarily onerous burdens on the tourism business, La Costena offered two flights a day between Managua and Bluefields. 

Their early afternoon departure from Managua was timed so that people arriving there on their way to the Carribbean could get to both Bluefields and/or Big Island.  As it is now, most people spend their arrival night in Managua and catch the early/only flight to Bluefields and/or Big Island. Bit by bit La Costena is adding the second flight back to their list...so far only on Sundays and a few Saturdays. Hopefully a busy tourist season will see these flight additions happen for all the other days of the week.

When I last checked in for my La Costena flight to Bluefields I asked the woman at the counter how business was. Her reply was "Better, thank god." This photo shows how the waiting room in Managua looked when I sat down to await my flight. By the time the flight was called the room was full, as it should be...full of mostly European tourists headed for Big Island (and perhaps from there on to their boat ride to Little Island, a place to small for any airplane).

10 November 2022

Drupes...who knew - and who cares

    Cashew nuts aren't really nuts...they're drupes.  

    It turns out there is all sorts of confusing classification and nomenclature regarding what I've long thought of simply as nuts.  Cashews aren't nuts.  Peanuts aren't nuts.  Almonds aren't nuts.  Acorns are classified as nuts but not many people eat acorns the same way people eat cashews or peanuts or almonds.

    By definition a drupe is a fruit that's fleshy on the outside but with a shell covering the outside of the seed of the fruit - the cashew in this case.  

    A very different thing about a cashew is that although the seed is, indeed, covered with shell...in the case of the cashew, a really hard shell...the seed isn't on the inside of the fruit.  Instead the cashew seed hangs from the bottom of the fruit, one per.  My guess is that over the eons the cashew seed shell got really hard since it's not on the inside of the fruit that produces it.  Protection, you know.

    Peaches are drupes and the peach seed is very much an "innie."  People eat the outside of the peach, the fleshy part of the drupe; but I doubt there are a lot people who eat the seed that's inside.  With a cashew, the seed is an "outie" and hangs from the bottom of the fleshy part of the drupe.  And the fleshy part of the cashew is commonly called a "cashew apple."   

    The common naming of the cashew fruit as an apple just adds more confusion to classification and names since the cashew is not at all kin to an apple.  They're not even in the same family.  The cashew tree family is Anacardiaceae while the apple tree family is in the Rosaceale.  (This is really important stuff here.)

    At False Bluff we have trees that produce both red and yellow cashew apples which make for really good eating.  However, like the fruit of the pawpaw tree, a US native, a cashew apple is very fragile...too fragile to make it to a grocery store shelf in any appetizing way.  

    So we just pick and eat the cashew apple right off the tree.  And like the fragile pawpaw, the apples of the cashew tree make wonderful jams and jellies.

    We simply don't bother with the cashew seeds though....those things that are labeled "nuts" and are so very expensive in grocery stores.  There are several reasons for the cost of the things - but that's another story.

04 November 2022


Most everywhere there is still a push to vaccinate people against covid. Even in Bluefields, anybody who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine.

Vaccinators wander through town - and most likely the surrounding rural areas - offering on-the-spot vaccinating and are willing to discuss the benefits and reasons for being vaccinated with anyone who might still have never heard of covid.

There was a small representative crew from the local health department offering vaccines and information during a Bluefields street festival I attended. There were lots of people out and about. These three were not at all aggressive in their efforts but they stood out because they were nearly the only people out that day who were wearing masks.

On August 10, 2022, the all-time covid stats for Nicaragua were:

  • 14,872 cases and
  • 244 deaths
The US State Department page includes the following CDC statement regarding Nicaraguan covid information: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Nicaragua has an unknown level of COVID-19."

Note:  The CDC statement on the State Department page does not identify as sarcasm